Sunday morning, President Donald Trump signaled to reporters that Congressional Democrats had wasted their opportunity to come to the bargaining table over comprehensive immigration reform, and that the time for a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act had passed.
He also encouraged Republicans to pass strict anti-immigration legislation, likely including increased funding for Trump’s planned border wall.
Trump tweeted early Sunday that he was growing tired of Democratic immigration policies, including the nonsensical border patrol “catch-and-release” program instituted under President Barack Obama. He punctuated his social media missive with the words, “NO DACA DEAL” in all capital letters.
Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2018
According to The Washington Post, whose reporters waited to speak to the president and his wife outside Easter services at an Episcopalian church local to the couple’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, the president was very willing to elaborate on his statement, accusing Congressional Democrats of standing in the way of any potential deal to protect past and future DACA recipients.
“A lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA,” Trump said, according to WaPo. “They had a great chance. The Democrats blew it.”
He continued, “Mexico has got to help us at the border. They flow right through Mexico; they send them into the United States. It can’t happen like that way anymore.”
The so-called “nuclear option” would allow Republicans to pass immigration reform in the Senate with only a simple majority of 51 votes, but would require the GOP to destroy the filibuster — something that could come back to haunt them in future administrations, and could mire a divided Congress.
DACA was due to expire on March 5, and in February, Republicans and Democrats agreed to discuss extending the measure permanently through legislation as part of more comprehensive talks on the omnibus spending bill. But Republicans and Democrats were able to reach an agreement to fund the government without taking on DACA, and now, DACA recipients are protected only by an injunction that prevents the Trump Administration from ending the program while a lawsuit challenging Trump’s authority to end DACA moves through the court system.
Congressional Republicans have, however, been slow to consider major anti-immigration legislation, so it’s not clear they will heed Trump’s threat.